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Lundbergs use skills to spread happiness

Pair save marriages, inspire many and make communication better

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PROVO — Joy and Gary Lundberg make things better.

By combining their talents — she writes, he counsels — over the past three decades, they've saved marriages, inspired many and improved communication between people and families.

Gary Lundberg is a licensed marriage and family counselor.

Joy Lundberg collaborated with her cousin, Janice Kapp Perry, on 10 albums of inspirational music, among them, "I Walk by Faith," a collection of songs that instill the values of young womanhood as taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

They also wrote "It's a Miracle," a musical they took on the road. The production involved the Lundbergs and Perrys in 237 performances with a cast and crew of 29.

Then came the 1995 book, "I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better," which the Lundbergs wrote. Published by Penguin Books of New York, the book focuses on how to enhance relationships with effective communication.

"It sets boundaries in a loving way," Joy Lundberg said.

This book was written for the general public and their publisher sent them on a national tour of book signings and promotional radio and television appearances. That led to speaking engagements for government and city organizations along with LDS firesides.

Together they wrote "On Guard," a slim volume that espouses seven safeguards for teens and young adults to use to protect their sexual purity. The book grew out of Gary Lundberg's experiences as a bishop for a Brigham Young University LDS ward.

More recently the Lundbergs have offered seminars on marriage. Every year around Valentine's Day they hold the overnight event at a hotel where they teach couples how to strengthen their marriages.

Thirty-eight couples attended the most recent one. The next one, scheduled for next February, may be a cruise.

Some couples are on the verge of divorce when they step into the seminar, Joy Lundberg said, while others appear strong.

"We take the marriages where they are and make them stronger," Gary Lundberg said.

"We love it when young couples come to get that foundation," Joy Lundberg said.

Additionally they travel extensively throughout North America doing relationship seminars for business and civic groups. Gary Lundberg often sings at the events.

"We mostly go wherever we are invited," he said.

Always the counselor to friends and people who need a listening ear, Gary Lundberg made the switch to professional counseling later in life. Earlier he served in the military for seven years during the Cold War, much of that time assigned to a warplane that carried an atom bomb.

"We had to be in the air in five minutes if war broke out," he said.

After his military service Gary Lundberg worked for IBM and then the family returned to Utah where he worked in electronics. He left that work behind to follow his family on the four-year road stint with "It's as Miracle." Then he decided to go back to BYU and get his Master of Arts in marriage, family and child therapy.

More recently, the Lundbergs served a mission for the LDS Church at the World Family Policy Center at the BYU law school. Once again they were traveling — to the United Nations in New York twice, to Geneva, Switzerland, and Mexico City promoting family values.

Their work consisted of assisting in presenting the research that supports strong family values.

Their own love story began where many do, at BYU. They have been married more than 50 years.

They have five children, all adopted — beginning with three while they were stationed in Germany. The other two are from the U.S. and Mexico. They have 14 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

"Our greatest joy is our children," Joy Lundberg said.

E-mail: rodger@desnews.com